Friday, 29 July 2016

Между заминаванета/Between departures

It takes little more than the suggestion
of a road to set me off.

The light’s particular
fall on woodland and that promise
of distance recall other terrains,
other journeys made or intended –

and how only last month
scrub silvered hillsides
and mist plumed a lake
en route to a different return.

No, it doesn’t take much to set me off.

A dispersing tangle of vapour trails
is merely the most obvious and I’d go
at the chance of those figs, that coffee,
the cut grass beside half-finished houses,
figures of sand dusting dry pavements
and the noise of headlines left behind.

No, it doesn’t take much to set me off.

And as the suggestions come ever thicker
ever faster, it would seem that – as in
those lines from a poem I’ve yet to write –
the urge to get away isn’t very hard to foster.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips

Friday, 22 July 2016

В Борисовата градина/In Boris gardens

And I remember the poets,
the bronze busts lining the path,
and with so few words to rely on –
unable at least to distinguish between
their work and their reputation –
remaining complicit in that silence.

But the living here were intent
on different accommodations
and we resided too in a reunion:
whatever history there was
accumulated in every word –
a friendship coming into focus

as we walked through that heat
and did what we could in photographs
of our jet-trail coincidences –
the ones which brought us up and out
of where we’d been before –
the words which were understood
no matter what the language.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips

Friday, 15 July 2016

Градината след женитба/The garden after marriage

These days we might recall
how even in a garden we ignored –
its grass clumps tangled
across cracked earth patches –
something was at work to bring
flecks of distant wilderness in

and how, waking in our new state,
with no more to go on than those
who were having to reinvent theirs
in a different kind of aftermath
(the adjustments reported hourly
on the battery wireless by the sink)

we’d be attuning ourselves to birdsong
from washing lines and TV aerials
and that view of a city emerging
from its own divisions which sat
like scenery behind untended borders
where plants we couldn’t name came into bloom.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips

Friday, 8 July 2016

Отражения на жълт/Reflections in yellow

Like a fountain in a Japanese garden
designed to accentuate silence,
the soft furl of waves at lake’s edge
is as close to peace as we’ll come
on humid days of rainless thunder.

The washed-up spoils we find here –
the fishing floats, corks, edgeless glass –
are not much to shore against thoughts
which flit and dart like midges at the surface
and flense what calm there was.

Something culpable, though, too
in this liquid tristia – as if regret
alone amounted to atonement
for things which were never said
nor snatched by the havering breeze.

In the island monastery’s yard,
his unsearching eyes look up, half-blind
to the clouds’ dispersing vagaries –
and that, for now, is enough
or that’s enough now –

and God is once more that parent
at the side of the road, ushering
children onto the verge, away
from the traffic which veers up
and out of shot beyond the water.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips

Friday, 1 July 2016

Вкъщи/At home

Where home was once
we strolled, we smiled,
we were happy enough
to stay silent.

On the balcony then,
that narrow balcony,
that’s where we were
by roses overgrown.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips